(1) (109:1) Say: 'O unbelievers!' *1



*1) A few points in this verse are particularly noteworthy:
(1)Although the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) has been commanded to tell this to the disbelievers plainly, the theme that follows makes it explicit that every believer should tell the disbelievers plainly what has been said in the following verses; so much so that the person who has just believed and repented of kufr is also bound to express similarly his disgust with and disapproval of the creed and rites of worship and gods of kufr. Thus, though the first addressee of the word qul (say) is the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) himself, the command is not restricted to him alone but it reaches every believer through him.
(2)The word "kafir' is no abuse, which might have been used for the addressees of this verse, but it implies the one who refuses to believe, or is an unbeliever. As against it the word "mu min" is used for the believer. Therefore, the Holy Prophet's saying, by Allah's command, "O disbelievers, ... ', in fact, means: "O you, who have refused to believe in my apostleship and in the teachings brought by me." Likewise. when a believer uses this word, it will imply those who do not believe in the Holy Prophet Mauhmmad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings),
(3) The word used is "O kafirs" and not "O muslmiks"; therefore, the addressees are not only the mushriks but all those people who do not acknowledge Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) as Allah's Messenger and the teachings and guidance brought by him as the teaching and guidance given by Allah Himself, whether they be Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians or the disbelievers, polytheists and pagans of the entire world. There is no reason why this address be restricted to the pagans of Quraish or of Arabia only.
(4) To address the deniers with the word "O kafirs" is just like addressing certain people as "O enemies", or "O opponents". Such an address is not, in fact, directed to the person of the addressee but it is made on the basis of their characteristic of enmity and opposition, and lasts only until they are so characterised. If one of them gives up enmity and opposition, or turns a friend and supporter, he no longer remains the addressee of this word. Likewise, the address of "O kafirs" to the people also is in view of their characteristic of kufr and not their person. This address would be perpetual for him who continues to be a kafir till death, but the one who believes will no longer be its addressee.
(5) Many scholars from among the commentators have expressed the opinion that in this Surah the address of "O disbelievers" applied only to a few persons of Quraish, who were visiting the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) with proposals of compromise regarding religion and about whom Allah had informed His Messenger than they would not believe. They have formed this opinion for two reasons. First, that it is followed by La a `budu ma to `budun: "I do not worship him or those whom you worship" . They say that this does not apply to the Jews and Christians, for they worship AIlah. Second, that this is also followed by: wa la antum `abiduna ma a`bud "Nor are you worshippers of Him Whom 1 worship". Their reasoning is that this statement does not apply to the people who at the revelation of this Surah were disbelievers but later believed. Both these arguments are incorrect. As for these verses, their explanation that follows will show that they do not bear the meaning which has been understood from them. Here, to point out the error of the reasoning it would be enough to say that if the addressees of this Surah were only these people, why then dces this Surah still continue to be recited when they are dead and gone from the world long long ago? And what was the need of making this Surah a part of the Qur'an permanently so that the Muslims should continue to read it for ever afterwards'?
 
 
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آيــــات - القرآن الكريم Holy Quran - مشروع المصحف الإلكتروني بجامعة الملك سعود

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